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Beaujolais Nouveau. There is only one rule.
OK wine connoisseurs, you may want to stop reading right here. We’re about to dive headlong into a conversation about the fresh, fruity, once-a-year wonder that the snobby set loves to slam: Beaujolais Nouveau. Déclassé? Perhaps. Fun? Absolutely. Wine consultant extraordinaire Jodi Fritch breaks down the history for us and gives her blessing to all who dare sip (OK, slurp) this grapey libation when it hits markets and restaurants this Thursday.
Beaujolais Nouveau – there is only one rule.
I am the kind of wine geek who loves pushing the rules, urging people to think outside of their comfort zones and try new things. However, when it comes to Beaujolais Nouveau, a wine that seems to break every wine snob rule in the book, there is only one rule that must be followed.
At one past midnight on the third Thursday of November, restaurants and retailers of wine around the world declare “Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!” and what started as a quaint rural tradition in France is celebrated worldwide.
In the beginning, the competition to be the first to serve the year’s Beaujolais Nouveau was so fierce that the wine was delivered by motorcycle, balloon, truck, helicopter and even less modern forms of transportation (think elephants and rickshaws) to awaiting revelers.
Americans stood in line at wine shops and were on exclusive guest lists to be the first to try the first wine of the new harvest. I remember thinking how wine savvy they must be. Over the years (and maybe as my wine knowledge has improved) I have learned that self-proclaimed wine snobs won’t go anywhere near this fresh, fruity, light and juicy wine.
But, let’s face it; isn’t that part of the charm? One night of the year you can meet up with friends and celebrate a wine for just what it is: fermented grape juice. Free from snobbery and overthinking. No one contemplates what Beaujolais Nouveau tastes like. It tastes, for lack of a better descriptor, grapey and just slightly winey.
It’s meant to be served chilled and free from stress, often over ice (if there is no time to chill another bottle). It can be the ultimate expression of joie de vivre. This wine almost challenges you (like that proverbial “bad influence” friend) to commit vinous sacrilege.
Grab a glass, a plastic cup, or a straw (it’s that kind of wine) and a couple of friends. Check your wine snobbery at the door and celebrate life. Don’t worry about what the wine tastes like or where it falls into the grand scheme of points and ratings. Just smile and enjoy the fête.
Looking to join the fun on Beaujolais Day? In true Datz fashion we’ll skip the Wine Spectator pretense in favor of fun and pour the Beaujolais Nouveau freely this Thursday evening. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. Beaujolais Nouveau for $5 a glass – served only in our finest red Solo cup goblets (yours to cherish) or traditional glass for the more reserved. The event will be the first in a monthly wine tasting series I am hosting at Datz. Follow the tweets at #WW.